August 2009 NEWSLETTER

Class Schedule Update
Country Workshops’ 32nd summer “workshop” season is almost complete. Tom Donahey’s Post-and-Rung Rocking Chair course (scheduled for August 3-8) has been cancelled due to lack of students -- we hope to offer Tom’s course again next summer.  Peter Follansbee’s 17th Century Carved Box course (August 17-21) filled up early in the year. September is our break month. (No courses,  but we plan to send out another e-Newsletter). We resume classes in October with fall and winter “tutorials.”

Fall and winter tutorials are limited to 4 students. Drew Langsner is the instructor. Tutorial tuition includes materials, a private room, our famous meals prepared by Louise Langsner, and use of specialized tools. Enrollment can be by phone (828 656 2280) or e-mail. The deposit is $350 with the balance due 4 weeks before each session begins. Other details, including our cancellation policy, are on the Country Workshops web site.

Fall Tutorials (limited to 4 students)
October 19-23: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking  (Drew Langsner)  - Full
November 2-6: Windsor Chairmaking (Drew Langsner) - Full
November 16-20: Ladderback Chairmaking (Drew Langsner) - Full

Winter 2010 Tutorials
January 11-15: Ladderback Chairmaking - Make a “mule ear” side chair.
January 25-30*: American Windsor Chairmaking - Make a bow-back side chair.
February 8-12: Carving Bowls and Spoons - The Scandinavian tradition. - 2 openings
February 22-26: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking - Low-back or high-back.
March 8-12: Hearth Chair - This is Drew’s design for an all wood loafing chair. - 2 openings
March 22-27*: American Windsor Chairmaking - Make a bow-back side chair.

*Note: Our Winter 2010 American Windsor Tutorials have been extended to 6 full days. We have learned that you need the extra class day for this particularly challenging project.

Inventor-Builder Gene Faasse.

Faasse Bowl Dog adjustable clamp.
Faasse Bowl Dog in Use.
Wille Sundqvist Bowl Dog.
Langsner-Van Harm Bowl Dog.


When Gene Faasse attended this summer’s Toolmaking for Woodworkers course he brought along a special gift. Gene has been working on his ideas for a “bowl dog” since he took the Carving Bowls and Spoons course several years ago.  Gene’s bowl dog is beautifully constructed from oak, with beautifully made custom hardware. (Gene is a machinist based in Easley, SC.) But more important, the gripping mechanism is particularly powerful. This is the 3rd version for Gene. (Incidentally, we previously called the Drew Langsner/Jan Van Harm version of a similar device a “bull dog.” ) The Drew/Jan version was featured in our February e-Newsletter.

The summer Carving Bowls and Spoons course had just 3 students so it was a perfect opportunity to do some comparisons with the 3 very different bowl dogs that we now have.  Art Pilch (from Sylva, NC) worked with the original Wille Sundqvist version which is axe hewed from a solid tulip poplar log. Dan Mirkes (our summer intern from Minneapolis, MN) did his adzing with the Drew/Jan version. This one uses an internal pipe clamp and a bolted sandwich of yellow pine 2 x 12’s. Cliff Chaffee (Campbellsville, KY) used the new Gene Faasse version.
Opposing Wedges - Sundqvist Bowl Dog.
All 3 bowl dogs worked well in our shop tests. The Sundqvist version uses opposing wedges to hold the blank in place. This requires some fiddling to get the right combination,  and it will sometimes vibrate loose, but not too often. With the Drew/Jan model, the blank lifts off of the bench a little when the pipe clamp is tightened. This is caused by the very casual fitting of the clamp mechanism to the pipe. Tighten the clamp, then use a hammer  (or mallet?)  to knock the blank back down to the work surface. It then stays in place without problems. The Gene Faasse bowl dog definitely has the best grip. It’s fussy to set up (requires bolting everything in place, with special bushings to minimize bench wear) and this particular example  is a little high for most carvers. The Sundqvist and Drew/Jan versions are probably somewhat heavier than necessary. Drew will make a slightly lighter yellow pine/pipe clamp version (also with handholds) the next time we need an additional dog.

We’re still looking for further ideas.  Bowl dogs need to hold half log blanks securely during vigorous adze hewing. The half log bowl blank placement should be at a comfortable work position. We like the idea that the components be readily available and that the construction is not complex.

Country Workshops has been using and selling  DMT diamond hones for longer than we can remember. DMT uses monocrystaline synthetic diamonds which are formulated for long lasting aggressive  performance.  We particularly like the DMT hones that utilize a uniform diamond surface bonded to a flat steel plate.

We are happy to add a new 220 grit  hone to the very economical 2 x 6-inch steel plate line. DM-24 is now in stock, priced at $26.50 plus s&h. We also carry a 220 hone in the 2-1/2 x 11-1/2-inch size. DM-05 sells for $70.00. These 220 grit hones cut fast enough to eliminate the need for power grinding in many situations. We also stock DMT hones in 325, 600 and 1200 grits.
17th century carved box.

On-Line Tutorials

Peter Follansbee’s 17th Century Carved Box course filled to capacity, even before Peter’s detailed article on the project appeared in the final Spring 2009 issue of “Woodwork” magazine.  We hope to schedule this course again, but meanwhile, anyone can get started with this tutorial (in pdf): Recreating A 17th century Carved Box. Peter’s web site is at:

We plan to conclude with  Part 3 of Drew’s ladle carving article  from the British “Living Woods” magazine in the September e-Newsletter. Also on line now:  Part 1- June 2009 Newsletter. Part 2 – July 2009 Newsletter.


About this time of year we often receive inquiries regarding our summer internship program. Basically, this is a trade of your labor for our classes. The work includes grounds upkeep, gardening, shop cleaning and maintenance, class preparation and anything else that may come up.  Also included are room and board, use of the shop (with CW tools) and a staff discount on any CW Store purchases.  The internship runs from June through August. 1 or 2 positions are accepted each summer.

For more information, or inquiries, phone us (828 656 2280) or use e-mail.  Ask for the Internship Packet, which contains detailed information and an application form.


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Phone: 828 656 2280 (9 AM to 6 PM, eastern time, any day)
Address: 990 Black Pine Ridge Rd.; Marshall, North Carolina 28753